Tariff reversed but 'damage done' to US newspapers

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America's NewsMediaAlliance has welcomed reversal of US tariffs on imported Canadian newsprint as the "right call".

"We applaud the International Trade Commission for today reaching a final, unanimous negative determination that Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper, which includes newsprint used by newspapers, do not cause material harm to the US paper industry," it said in a statement.

The Department of Commerce had upheld the tariffs, while revising them to "slightly lower levels - still as high as 20 per cent - which the publishers' group says would still have been unsustainable for newspapers and other printers and publishers.

"Fortunately, our voice was heard at the ITC hearing last month, and they made the right call today in reversing these harmful tariffs."

NMA president and chief executive David Chavern says that while the Department of Commerce and ITC had been investigating the case brought by US mill Norpac, it had emphasised that the decades-long shift of news and information from print to digital platforms - not imports from Canada - was the cause of the decline in demand for newsprint.

"Local papers provide essential coverage of local governments and community news and events. In many communities, the local paper is the only source of community news," it said.

"Unfortunately, the damage to newspapers from preliminary tariffs imposed by the Department of Commerce since January has already been done. The tariffs have disrupted the newsprint market, increasing newsprint costs by nearly 30 per cent and forcing many newspapers to reduce their print distribution and cut staff.

"We hope today's reversal of these newsprint tariffs will restore stability to the market and that publishers will see a full and quick recovery. Our democracy depends on it."

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